What types of foodstuffs are covered by the Nutrivigilance system?

Nutrivigilance is a system for registering undesirable effects linked to the consumption of four categories of foodstuffs:

1. Food supplements

These are foodstuffs presented in small doses and which, as their name suggests, supplement the diet. They come in various forms, such as capsules, pastilles, gelcaps, ampoules, powder and drops.

They may contain vitamins (vitamin C, folic acid, etc.), herbs (ginger, ginseng, green tea, etc.) or other substances (carnitine, caffeine, coenzyme Q10, etc.).

Although they are often sold in pharmacies and look the same, dietary supplements are not medicines, as they neither cure nor prevent (symptoms of) disease. Never take more than is indicated on the packaging.
2. Fortified foods

These are foods to which vitamins or minerals have been intentionally added.
For example: vitamin B6-enriched energy drinks, iron-enriched cereals, vitamin D-enriched milk, etc.


All the information on food supplements and enriched foods can be found on the page Food supplements and enriched foods | FPS Public Health (belgium.be/en).
3. Foodstuffs for specific groups 

These are foodstuffs specially treated or formulated to meet the needs of a particular group of people.
This category of foodstuffs includes:

  • infant formula and follow-on formula;

  • cereal-based preparations and baby foods;

  • foodstuffs for special medical purposes;

  • total daily ration substitutes for weight control.

Visit the following page for information on foodstuffs intended for specific groups: Foodstuffs for specific groups | FPS Public Health (belgium.be/en)
4. Authorised novel foods 

These are foods which were not consumed in any significant way in the European Union before 15 May 1997 and which have obtained European authorisation to be marketed, following a safety assessment.
For example: insects, chia seeds, noni juice, phytosterols, etc.

Find out more about novel foods: What is a novel food? FPS Public Health (belgium.be/en)
Although these foodstuffs comply with legislation, they could cause undesirable effects​ when consumed inappropriately, in excessive quantities or by groups for whom they are not intended (e.g. children).

Food poisoning, which results from the contamination of food - for example by bacteria - must be reported to the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC): FASFC - Contact point for consumers (favv-afsca.be/en).